Text: Siege at Carlisle Castle! Can you be first to conquer the castle? Collect all of the pieces of the trebuchet to break through the castle defences and win the game!
Image: Reconstruction drawing of Carlisle Castle

Under siege!

Carlisle Castle’s position on the border between England and Scotland made it an important stronghold, and control of the castle passed between the English and Scottish many times.

The Scots besieged the town and castle seven times between 1173 and 1461. One of the most determined sieges was in 1315 by Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland, following his victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn the previous year. They failed to take the castle though, and retreated with the loss of only two English lives.

The siege of 1461 was one of the bloodiest episodes of the Wars of the Roses, the struggle for the English throne between the Houses of Lancaster and York. A combined army of Lancastrians and Scots succeeded in taking the castle from the Yorkists.

The final siege of Carlisle was in 1745, when English soldiers defeated 400 Scottish soldiers. They were stationed here during the second Jacobite rising, when Prince Charles Edward Stuart led an army into England and attempted to restore the exiled Stuarts to the throne.

Image: illustration of siege engines outside of a castle

Setting up the game

Now the fate of Carlisle Castle is in your hands!

Challenge a friend or family member to see who can be the first to lay siege to the castle, by travelling around the board to assemble a trebuchet and break through the castle’s gatehouse to reach the keep and win.

Download and print your game board, and make sure you have a dice, a counter or coin for each player and a pen or pencil to tick off the trebuchet parts as you collect them.

Download your game board
Image: Illustration of siege game board with trebuchet checklist

How to play

  • Take turns to roll the dice and move around the board and the castle walls.

  • Collect all six parts of the trebuchet by landing on them (you can only claim them if you land on the space with each part – not by passing over them).

  • Tick off each trebuchet piece you collect from your list (pictured left)

  • Once you have ticked off all of the parts of your trebuchet (this may take several laps around the board), you can enter the gatehouse the next time you pass it to reach the castle keep and claim it as your own!
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